Essex Way stage 3 – walking to raise money for Willow Foundation

Yesterday Fiona and I completed stage 3 of our sponsored walk to raise money for the wonderful Willow Foundation. The route will be 81 miles in total and this leg was about 13 miles, legs are aching this morning! We started off in grey drizzle but the skies cleared as the days went on and we were treated to some beautiful Essex countryside, thatched cottages, woods thick with bluebells, lakes and views of rolling fields.

We had to cross a few private properties where the path took us through rights of way, we got the impression the farmers weren’t over keen on us being there judging by the scowls, having to climb locked gates and the couple of field gates warning of bulls lurking – which were negotiated at speed.

A brief stop at Dedham for a ploughman’s lunch and a quick bevvy and we completed the walk in just over five hours.




The first waymarker.


Starting off in drizzle by the dead tree in Manningtree.


The woodland sections were beautiful, this was a bridge over a small bubbling stream.


Bluebell season and they carpeted the floor.


We didn’t see bulls despite the farmers’ warnings they were lurking, maybe just a ploy to keep us out 😉


So pretty and we barely saw a soul, we had the countryside to ourselves.


Fiona at about half way.


Turned a corner to discover a big lake.




Came across so many thatched cottages, some tucked by themselves in the middle of the woods.


Stage three took us from Manningtree to Great Horkesley.


Welcomed by Jerry the very friendly church cat when we stopped to have a quick look around.


This sign had been moved to the church porch, it used to be on one of the steep hills nearby to encourage drivers to be patient with their animals as they tried to climb it.


My favourite view of the day.

People sometimes say Essex countryside is rather flat and uninteresting, this walk is proving to us that it is simply stunningly beautiful in places. We still have a long way to go, my pedometer said we walked 31,747 steps yesterday and we have many more miles to walk so we are grateful for all the sponsorship we can get.

We are raising money for the Willow Foundation, it provides amazing special days out for young adults who have serious illnesses. These days give people having a tough time a welcome respite from the difficult days of treatment, allows them to forget for a little about the illness and spend a special time with their family or friends, helping to create lasting memories. Please help Jellypark to raise as much as we can this year by popping a couple of quid in here – tiny donations can add up to a huge amount 🙂

Thank you!

Claire and Fiona




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